There’s a new Greatest Threat To America, and it’s public bathrooms. Specifically, the epidemic of women and children trying to use public bathrooms while transgender women — who are also women!! — wish to use the bathroom as well. As if a public bathroom is the appropriate place for such a thing!
You might think this isn’t a real problem, and you’d be right. It isn’t. But never underestimate the determination of Republicans to “fix” problems that don’t exist. Thus, the heinous, hastily passed HB 2 in North Carolina, which not only prohibits transgender men and women from pissing in peace and quiet, but also prohibits local ordinances that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination because screw them is why. All in the name of protecting women and children, according to Republicans who support this idiotic thing. Here’s one lovely example, from the state’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest who is up for re-election and really concerned about protecting women from assault:
If Republicans were genuinely concerned about women’s safety, they could look into the real epidemics of rape and assault and domestic violence, which women do experience every day, though not generally (or ever) at the hands of a transgender stranger in the bathroom stall next to them. But that’s one big fat hypothetical ha-ha-ha-you-must-be-joking “if,” isn’t it?
Shockingly, a poll from Public Policy Polling shows that North Carolinians are none too thrilled with the consequences of HB 2. Only 36 percent of voters support it, and a majority think it’s had “a negative impact” on the state’s economy. Maybe that’s why legislators introduced a new new bill in called HB 496, which would repeal the first bill so Bruce Springsteen will come back, please, and the rest of America will stop pointing to the state and saying, “This is why we can’t have nice things!”
Also — and this is probably mere coincidence — Gov. McCrory is, for the first time, slightly behind in the polls against his Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Roy Cooper, who has opposed HB 2 from the beginning on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional, discriminatory, harmful, and just plain dumb.
But at least North Carolinians can sleep easier knowing their women and children are safe because no transgender people are dropping trou in the stalls next to them. Except for the ones who are. Like Mara Keisling, a transgender woman who went to the state’s capitol to protest the bill, did her business in the women’s bathroom in the governor’s office, and then marveled online that the governor “can’t even enforce his law in his house.”
No wonder legislators would like to do away with this bill and pretend the whole thing never happened. Or perhaps they’ll adopt this novel proposal by apparently-not-kidding presidential candidate Ted Cruz:
“If any one of us wants to dress up as a woman or man and wants to live as woman or man and believes that we might be something other than what we were born, God has made each of us with free will and the ability to choose to do that if man to wants to dress as a woman, and live as a woman, and have a bathroom at home.”
Asked if those remarks mean a transgender woman shouldn’t be able to use the restroom in public, Cruz indicated that was in fact the case.
Got it. If you are a trans woman — because let’s be honest, these guys aren’t even imagining the trans men who are required to use women’s bathrooms under these laws — you can exercise your free will in the privacy of your own home, as God intended, so that Cruz and his fellow perverts won’t be forced against their will to imagine what kind of dingle dangles in your drawers. And again, as always, it’s all for the ladies because Cruz is quite certain women “would like to be able to use a public restroom in peace without having a man there.” This is technically true; women would love to do all their private business without having men like Ted Cruz getting all up in there, screeching about rights and God and freedom.
Here’s an idea: Perhaps Cruz and his fellow apparently-not-kidding presidential candidate John Kasich, who recently suggested women could prevent their own rapes if they avoid parties with alcohol, could introduce a grand universal plan to keep women safe from everything. Avoid booze and bathrooms and boys. And Republican legislators, of course. Just think about how safe and free you’ll feel if you never leave your home again.
Here’s this week’s good, bad, and downright ugly:
- See if you can spot the problem here:
— EqualRightsAdvocates (@EqualRightsAdv) April 21, 2016
- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback still blows a lot. His devastating “welfare reform” forced 15,000 people off of food assistance in January, but as he explained to the American Enterprise Institute last week, those lazy moochers have only themselves to blame:
“We got a push of people saying, ‘Well I don’t wanna do this, I don’t like doing this,’ some people saying, ‘Look I’m not gonna participate in the program then if that’s the case,'” Brownback told the AEI audience. He did not acknowledge that many of those people lost their food stamps while looking for work or because they couldn’t get to a state-sponsored job training classroom.
See, if those low-income layabouts really needed assistance to be able to eat, they’d find some way to meet the 20-hour-per-week work requirement Brownback imposed. That his brilliant economic policies have turned his state into a bankrupted epic FAIL where work is hard to come by? Meh, that’s not his fault. Those poor hungry losers should just try harder.
- The Oklahoma legislature has passed a real humdinger of a bill to ban abortion. But wait — you can’t just ban abortion outright, can you? No, not yet, anyway. But the brain trust that is the Oklahoma legislature figured out a sneaky way around that technicality. The bill would revoke the medical licenses of anyone who has performed an abortion. And since only a licensed provider is allowed to perform an abortion, no more licenses mean no more abortions. What a neat trick! No word yet on whether Gov. Mary Fallin will sign the bill, but given her staunchly anti-choice track record, don’t hold your breath waiting for miracles.
- You know how Republican-led states keep trying to defund Planned Parenthood and force women on Medicaid to receive their healthcare somewhere else — like maybe a mobile dentist unit? (Seriously, that’s a thing.) Well, here’s a friendly reminder from the Obama administration that you can’t do that:
The Obama administration just sent a strong signal to states trying to defund Planned Parenthood, warning all 50 states that attempts to strip Medicaid funding from the women’s health care provider is most likely illegal.
The letter, sent to each state’s Medicaid director, cautions lawmakers that “providing the full range of women’s health services… shall not be grounds for a state’s action against a provider in the Medicaid program.”
States don’t have the right to arbitrarily ban women from receiving their healthcare at Planned Parenthood, which is one of the country’s biggest healthcare providers for low-income women. The two dozen states that have done so know it’s a big no-no, but they figure aw heck, it’s worth screwing over poor people and risking critical federal dollars if they can really stick it to Planned Parenthood. Those particular states have already been warned — yo, you’re gonna lose your federal dollars if you keep it up with this defunding Planned Parenthood crap — but now all 50 states are on notice.
- Missouri doesn’t care about losing those aforementioned federal dollars for Medicaid. The state’s lawmakers figure it’s worth sacrificing $8.3 million in federal funding for healthcare to ensure sure poor women can’t go to Planned Parenthood. The new budget, which goes into effect July 1, relies on state dollars to fund its low-income healthcare programs, but that’s OK, because Missouri probably didn’t need those millions of dollars for anything else anyway. That’s some kind of fiscal conservatism, huh?
- In Mississippi, there are a dozen acceptable reasons — impotency, adultery, alcoholism — to get divorced. But domestic violence ain’t one of them. Senate Bill 2418 failed to pass because come on, it’s not like a little slap-and-tickle between spouses is a serious matter, right? According to the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Sally Doty, it’s not that her colleagues are A-OK with domestic violence, though:
“The House added an additional grounds for divorce, which would be separation for at least two years and that additional grounds is actually what ended up killing the bill,” Senator Doty said. “I think certainly all of my colleagues in the senate understand the seriousness of domestic violence.”
It was the other grounds added on that officials said clouded things for them. Sen. Doty said she’s disappointed, but plans to re-introduce the bill next legislative session.
“I will be a bit more strong and try not to allow anything to be tagged along with it that would kill it next year,” Doty said.
Ah well, so long as none of the legislators were actually trying to kill off the bill because they think domestic violence is no big. Certainly next time Doty introduces it, no one will insert any poison pill language, and then Mississippi will show just how seriously it takes domestic violence. You’ll see!
- Here is some goodish-for-now news:
On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court placed an injunction on the state’s 24-hour abortion waiting period, barring the controversial law from being enforced. The waiting period, which requires women to visit a provider, in person, to receive counseling a full day before undergoing an abortion, was signed into law last summer by Florida’s humanoid governor, Rick Scott.
But let’s pause on the ticker tape parades. Because the underlying issue of whether this law is constitutional has yet to be decided. So while the waiting period is on hold, the courts could ultimately decide that forcing women to wait for 24 hours before obtaining an abortion is a perfectly reasonable and legal thing to do. But for now, at least, while women in Florida still have other restrictions to overcome, including an astonishing lack of abortion providers in the vast majority of the state’s counties, having to go home and think real hard about how Gov. Rick Scott doesn’t want them to have that abortion isn’t one of them.
- Ben Carson is still really upset about Harriet Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill:
Harriet Tubman would likely be turning over in her grave if she knew she would be the new face of American debt slavery. She would revile the cheap trick being pulled on African Americans in getting them to support this nearly bankrupt symbol of American debt. It is amazing how, just as the currency dwindles down to near worthlessness – all of a sudden the Government wants to invoke Harriet Tubman as a symbol on the twenty dollar bill.
It’s not that Carson isn’t a big Tubman fan — he is! really! — it’s just that he’s very much not a fan of our nation’s deficit spending, and he’s quite sure Tubman wouldn’t be either.
Before selling out the sacred legacy of a revered American freedom fighter, we should stop and consider whether what we are getting in return is really worth it. Some things are just not for sale. And that includes the hard-won legacy of one of America’s greatest heroes. Let us not disgrace Harriet Tubman by symbolically linking her with a nearly bankrupt instrument of slavery and debt.
Sure, doc. Whatever you say.
Join us next Wednesday for another round of reporting. Unless we’ve won the war by then.